Case Study

Building Survey: Wanford Mill

For over 30 years, I have surveyed some weird and wonderful houses but until last year I had yet to climb into a wobbly punt to pole my way across a mill pond looked on anxiously by the vendor!

Such exploits were necessary to gain access to the voids and old mill races under the house which may have been harbouring hitherto unseen defects. The mill was built adjoining the Adur in the 16th century and over the centuries must have been witness to many visitors from land or river.

Remarkably, it had stood the test of time despite being flooded in 2013 due to a failure of a sluice gate down river. In many ways this was a ‘stand out’ case which required close collaboration with the client who understandably had reservations about the future prospect of flooding and the costs of living in a listed building.

Taking care over our ‘due diligence’ pre-inspection research, spending time on site and grilling the poor vendor, we were able to piece together the history of the mill, assess how it had changed, judge the quality of recent works and address the longer term maintenance issues. After two days, much had been uncovered allaying the doubts and fears of the purchaser with whom we shared our findings and answered her questions for reassurance.

Not long after this, my assistant and I were instructed to survey an apartment in a castle with some outstanding views over Sussex. Never dull this job! The wealthy designer was so concerned about the prospect of a fire he had reduced to an absolute minimum the amount of timber in its construction.

The stone roundels and window mullions made for a distinctive look but were in need of rolling maintenance – the downside of such an elevated site. The development even had its own water pumping station and storage system. It’s one of the delights of a surveyor to see such property varying in ‘extremis’ in age and type.

What on earth will the next phone call bring?


David Aspey
David Aspey